by Timothy Toner (8 Jan 94)
Wow. Just when you thought it wasn't possible, or worthwhile to create yet another clan. This is one of those philisophical things I do when I'm not trying to save the world from itself. Here, I try to answer the annoying question: where did the Assamites come from. Next week: where the Giovanni came from. Enjoy.
Soft dust drifted down from the roof of the tattered tent. Soon the painful sunlight would drift through the ragged tears wrought by war. Soon, it would be over.
The Warlord sat in his chair, and look once again at the map laid before him. According to this, it was to be the ultimate victory. Now it was defeat. In the distance, the furious battlecries of the victors rose ever-close.
"What had gone wrong?" he whispered to himself. All were stripped from him, all friends, generals, assistants, thralls. All had faced the final death with honor, leaving only him. Swordmarks scored his flesh, arrows still carelessly protruded, the fletching scratching against the wooden chair. None of these things, these engines of war, could harm him. Death would have to come another way. Painfully. Without honor.
The tentflap rustled, and a figure stepped in. The Warlord regarded it with puzzlement. No one stood there. No sound issued from the doorway. Although one end still slapped pleasantly against the tent, the doorflap was perfectly silent.
The Warlord froze. "Who are you?" No words echoed from his lips.
Standing, he reached for his sword, only to find it already gone. What witchery?
The intruder appeared before him, as if his mind had only now thought it wise to alert the Warlord of the presence. It was one of the fierce ones from Asia Minor, a brave and savage race that had to have the rules of engagement burned into them with heated swords. So there was one left. One out of so many...
"You may speak now, Juran."
He knew my name! The Warlord's eyes grew wide in shock. Still, the pup was impudent. He had not learned the lesson. From this whelp, the Warlord would build a new army. One step at a time. First, the discipline...
The Warlord reached out to grab the stranger, noting with a glance that he was indeed Kindred. He seemed vaguely familiar, and yet somehow different. Changed from the last time they had met. "Who are you?" he bellowed out, finally taking hold of the stranger's squirming arm.
"I am Bassam. I am your death."
The Warlord's hand grew suddenly cold, an icy bar absorbing the warmth of the room, sending his already cool body into shuddering. He collapsed to the dirt.
"I have come for you, Juran, Just as I said I would. You saved me from my righteous death. You kept me from my gods. You stole any hope for honor or redemption. And now I return the favor." Despite his tough words, the stranger was quivering, perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of anticipation.
"Do it, you coward! " It was a word horrid to say. Such a denouncement would mean the death of any man the Warlord had levelled it against. Now it was only an Epitaph.
With razor-like hands, the stranger sliced through the Warlord's armor, stripping all raiments of glory and protection. Naked and stiff from the cold, the Warlord could only shiver and wait for the end to come.
The stranger, this Bassam, drew forth from his sash a curving blade. From the depth of the Warlord's fallen will, a smile arose. "He wishes to use an engine of war against me..."
Bassam caught the smile, and returned it. He raised the blade to the flickering oil lamp. "No, Juran. Not a weapon of war. A weapon of treachery. Stained with the blood of your generals, all fallen this night. You will be with them, on this blade, and within me, forever."
Bassam struck his defenseless opponent again and again. The blood rushed and welled, until it pooled enough so that the killer dropped his blade, and lapped at the sticky blood he craved. Thus was the end of the great Warlord Juran, last of the Machomenoi.
- Found amongst the books of Alexander the Great, after his death
The Machomenoi are a clan wholly lost to the Kindred of today. Fragments of legend still extant alleges that the founder of Clan Assamite slew the Antediluvian, but only after picking off all others, one by one, in the deepest part of the night.
These vampires were once the crowning jewel of the burgeoning civilization. Military history and tactics were more critical to the Greeks and Phoenicians than astrological charts and omens. In every way, the Machomenoi were the unliving embodiment of these ideals.
Only the finest and noblest warriors and leaders were chosen to fill the ranks of this Clan. Taken almost entirely from those who lay dying on the field of battle, the Machomenoi retained the killing scar as a symbol of honor and virtue. They travelled the world, seeking out battles, and fighting in the name of strategy and high ideals.
Often two Machomenoi would face one another as either the leaders of two opposing forces, or advisors to the leaders, or even those who would lead the charge, calling others to a noble doom. In every way, they showed deference to each other, taking an almost philosophical look at defeat. After all, one only learns when mistakes are made. A Machomenoi is always spared, even when the custom calls for the destruction or enslavement of rival forces. Such is the bond of fealty they all share.
There are three types of Machomenoi; known informally as the Arm, the Leg, and the Chest. The Arm are those fighters who surpass in strength. They usually act as the leaders of attacks and assaults, fighting brutally, and smashing down any who stand in their way. The Leg are the swift scouts, specializing in sneak attacks, routs, and, more importantly, reconissance. Amongst mortals, they are the advisors, the dark shadow behind the throne. The Chest are the stout of heart, the rear guard that protects the flanks. They will stand their ground no matter what the foe, and subsequently act as bodyguards, or even leaders, amongst mortals.
Because of the effective job of Bassam in wholly annihilating this Clan, very little is known about them, other than accounts from the dawn of recorded history which talk of fierce pale skinned warriors that appeared in the midst of battle to rally the troops to victory. The greatest assemblage of Machomenoi in one place was at the Siege of Troy, where they took a minor diplomatic problem, and blew it so out of proportion that it took ten years, thousands of lives, and the razing of a once noble city to resolve. Every time one side would gain an advantage, the other would petition Juran, and the horrid balance would continue. The constant warfare continued, as more Machomenoi were summoned to fight in the conflict. Finally, duplicity, an anathema to the Machomenoi, won the day, and the disgusted Machomenoi turned to other conflicts.
The only other tale that survives in any degree is the fall of the Machomenoi, as recounted by an unknown scribe that did not know their true nature. As the legend goes, a fierce war was being waged in Asia Minor, between two rival tribes over a hotly contested trade route. Both sides had camped at the opposite banks of a river, drew their bows, and waited for someone to come out to fetch water. They remained there for weeks, slowly running out of water, slowly dying a dishonorable death. The conflict would not have been so terrible, if not for the presence of Juran himself, as well as several of his generals, watching over the battle, waiting for a break.
Just when the Machomenoi were growing bored, and considered whipping the men into a frenzy, and driving them into one another, a lone figure jumped on a horse, and rode straight for the opposite camp, not caring in the least about the sweet water that flowed about his horse's calves. His horse was not so single- minded, however. It stopped midstream, and began to plaintively lap at the flowing river, rendering the man a stationary target.
Seconds before the release of the arrows, the fighter leapt into the waters, and disappeared. A few patient moments later, he popped up again, and again, another wave of arrows. He slipped underneath the waves before the could strike him. This was repeated again and again, until, much to their horror, the tribe realized it had a scant few left. Bolstered by this confidence, the other side assaulted, and though it was a bloody massacre, the patient tribe with the brave martyr won out.
So pleased by such out and out bravery, Juran and his two generals sought out the hero. Martyr he was; blood poured from a dozen wounds. Juran smiled secretly at the true cause of the hero's bravery. He poured into the mind of the soldier, and discovered that he had become so thirsty, that he had killed his comrade, and drank deeply from his blood. The resulting thirst had driven him insane. Nevertheless, such "heroism" should not go unrewarded. Juran ordered him Embraced on the spot.
The general who performed the deed was only 7th generation; in those days, such a high generation seldom bred true. As the vitae flowed and mingled with the blood of his friend, the soldier began to convulse. He would not survive the Change. Juran insured it with a bit of his own blood. The soldier stopped convulsing, and lapped greedily at this reward.
The Neonate survived, but the powerful infusion of blood erased any battlescars. The soldier, low in generation, and lacking these signs of honor, would forever be a lackey. But unbeknownst to Juran, Bassam - the soldier - sweetly craved the dark, rich vitae, and sought it out at any opportunity. He fought battles not of honor but of treachery, slaying the Machomenos, whether he was the victor or loser. He learned the secret of Diablerie, and did the Blood Dance, climbing in generation, and systematically slaying every one of the trusting Machomenoi he met.
As his power grew, so too did his thirst for more blood. He developed special powers, the antithesis of his Machomenoi origins. Whereas they would be forward, brutal, and honorable, he would be silent, lethal, and amoral. It took him quite a time, but eventually, he developed Quietus as we know it today.
Eventually, he arranged for a horrific battle to be fought in northern Greece, and secretly invited all those Machomenoi who remained. He made pacts with each, promising detailed reports that could only be told in silence. It was the last news they ever heard.
The Warlord also came. Juran wondered where they had all gone to, but the Phoenicians had discovered a new world, supposedly. Perhaps they were off in this strange new land, fighting grander wars. Perhaps he would journey to there himself.
Bassam allowed Juran to live in his delusional world, where he shared the throne of mastery over humanity with Caine himself. When the assassin came, it was after a humiliating defeat. Stripped of all pride, Juran basically offered his neck to Bassam.
From here, the history becomes tangled. Bassam had no desire to create others, to inflict upon others the sins of his former clan. Still, he found those who thought as he did appealing to be with, to control, and eventually to Embrace. None deceived him as he deceived his Lord. In this, there is a frightful symmetry with the order he obliterated; the Assamites are as loyal to him as the Generals were to Juran. It is rumored that even today, Bassam awaits one who will rise from his ranks and decimate the Clan, taking from them as he himself took from the Machomenoi.
Because history is skewed in regard to the Machomenoi, no one knows if the Clan was around at the time of Caine and the Second City. Those Antediluvians who know seem shocked that human minds still hold the Machomenoi in memory. To them, they are long dead, an inferior, prideful clan in every way. A few potent Kindred, aware of the history, hint that perhaps the Machomenoi- Assamite cycle is never ending; Juran usurped it from the first, and thus the blood has flowed endlessly, never settling, constantly being stolen and reclaimed.
Whatever the case, the transfer of power from the Machomenoi to the Assamites signalled an important shift in the way humanity viewed war. It was no longer an honorable accounting, with counting coups counting for more than a massacre. Countries would be lost with the outcome of a single battle. When the Assamites took over, war became more about finishing as quickly as possible, while delivering as much pain as possible against an opponent. In many ways, the Assamites murdered the only pure thing that ever came from war: a sense of honorable finality, where neither side felt cheated.
Appearance: Always spartan in dress, style of clothing. As mentioned above, will try to dress so as to show the fatal scar off; the nastier the better. In addition, each Machomenoi will possess a True Weapon, a weapon which they favor above all others. They will go nowhere without this item in hand.
Haven: Mobile, like the Gangrel, they existed in a time where notions of abrogating a haven were unthinkable. Most of the time, they established tents, and wrapped themselves in heavy cloaks, to sleep out the day.
Background: As seen above, the Machomenoi choose only those who have fallen in battle to add to their numbers. Thus, one would have had to do something creative, and then be cut down, to be Embraced. So potent was the Vitae of the Machomenoi that the body could be dead a full day, and still it could be Embraced.
Concept: Soldier, Leader, Teacher, Mercenary.
Weakness: So little is known about the Machomenoi that iron-clad facts are difficult to come by. In many ways, they had a great respect for each other, and would never harm another Machomenoi, no matter what. In many ways, this resembles both the Tremere and the Assamites. Whether this is a Mass Blood Bond, like the Tremere, is unknown. The closest approximation comes to a sort of subservience to those with higher prestige. In any event where a Machomenoi acts dishonorably, he must subtract the difference between his Generation and the target's Generation in dice from all die rolls that would affect the target unfavorably. Thus, a Machomenon used treachery to win a battle. All dealings with his fellow Machomenon are strained with the notion that his comrade has been slighted. The Machomenon must subtract the difference as a penalty. Note that this works BOTH ways. Just because one is of higher status does not allow one to lie, cheat and steal. This seemed to apply to all Kindred the Machomenoi dealt with, which really was hardly any at all.
Organization: As rigid as they get. Each successive Generation is a higher ranking in the Organization. The proper names are lost, but a close approximation is Warlord, Lord, Underlord, General, Commander, Sergeant, and Warrior. However, while in battle, those who lead troops into battle, regardless of generation, are called Warriors. Those who select stratagems are called Generals, and those who protect and defend are called Sergeants.
In one way, the Assamites and the Machomenoi are strikingly similar: the use of Vitae. To them, vitae is an extremely valuable commodity. Before a battle is fought, the two Machomenoi usually meet, shake hands, and propose a wager. This amount is usually in blood. If for some reason, the two clash without speaking, the winner is automatically awarded a single point of blood, no matter what.
Bassam apparently stole the method of conversion from the Machomenoi, for although the exact specifics of the Machomenoi ritual are lost, their texts constantly speak of being promoted to higher ranks. Use the 100 = 1, as suggested in the VPG.
Demotion also exists, though, once again, the precise nature and methodology is unknown. The records speak of "The Foul Vitae," a horrid potion which causes a DECREASE in Generation. Thank Caine this was lost to history.
Gaining Prestige: Machomenoi gain prestige by winning battles. The higher the wager, the more prestige was gained. Note that even though a Machomenon could rally a bunch of peasants to resist an entire barbarian horde, more prestige would be gained if it were two Machomenoi with a handful of peasants, duking it out over crop rights.
Quote: "Conan, what is best in life?" "To crush thine enemies; to see them driven before you; and to hear the lamentations of the women."
Note: One key factor is missing in all accounts of the Machomenoi: the effect they had on humanity. They used humans largely as pawns to play their brutal games of strategy, and it seemed largely that the rest of the world let them do just that. Many would contend that they were merely feeding a primal impulse that humanity already possessed, and turned an unrelenting bloodbath into something organized and purposeful. Still, the mind reel on what would have happened if Juran had never given Bassam the blood.
Literally the War, Ptolemos is about the disciplines the Machomenoi needed to fight the "good" fight.
 Eyes of the Combatant: This power gives the Machomenoi heightened senses, but only in combat, although it can be used to evade an ambush. The Machomenoi burns 1 BP, and rolls Wits+Survival, diff 8. Each success adds a die to either Perception, Wits, or Intelligence (to the generation max), giving potentially monstrous initiative rolls. Note, however, that to notice rear-attacks requires Perception, and to notice large scale change of tactics requires Intelligence. By locking all points in one or two attribute, the Machomenon's mind gets myopic, missing an obvious rear assault, or failing to notice a regrouping.
 Blood Weapon: When a Machomenon is Embraced, he is supposed to choose a single weapon to be his True Weapon, a weapon he will favor above all others. With this level, he need never be without it. By spending 2 points of blood, he can call it into existence for a time in hours equal to an Sta+Melee (diff 7) roll.
 Mind of the Myrmidon: Perhaps the most potent of the Machomenon's powers, this allows him to link his mind with several others, to coordinate attacks. It is not telepathy. Only non-verbal directives can be given, like an image of a corner of a room, where an attacker is charging from. Still, the range of the power is effectively line of sight, and if the Machomenon can keep his squad leader in sight, he can direct large scale troop movement. The power lasts for a Scene, and affects a number of people equal to the number of successes on a Man+Leadership roll (diff 6). Each person in the group gets a -1 to combat difficulties, and the Machomenon can channel Eyes of the Combatant through them. Note that they are linked to the Machomenon. Any damage does 1 health level to the Kindred, soakable. However, this must be rolled at the end of the combat, with cumulative results. Thus, if a Machomenon was linked to four people, and all four were hit, the vampire would have to soak 4 health levels. Once this initial assault is endured, no more checks need to be made.
 Rally 'round the Standard: The Machomenon can use this power to incite his troops to greatness. The Machomenon soaks an item with 1 BP, then attempts to make a powerful speech, to sway his troops. The Machomenon rolls Cha+Oratory, (diff 6), and consults the following chart:
# of Successes Amount of people affected 1 5 2 10 3 15 4 20 5 25
All those affected get -1 to all combat difficulties, as long as the standard is in sight. If it falls for any reason, the bonus is lost. If it is captured, the Machomenon's side receives a +1 to all difficulties, until it is regained. If it can be recaptured, it is worth - 2 to the Machomenon's side. If the flag is captured, and presented at the end of combat to the loser, the loser owes the victor 5 blood points.
Note that this power is compatible with Mind of the Myrmidon, allowing leaders to enjoy -2 to all combat difficulties when both are employed.
 Deny Iron's Bite: With this potent power, a Machomenon spends a point of blood, and for the remainder of the scene is immune to all metal weapons specifically created for combat. Thus, a sword would do no harm, but a lead pipe, not specifically created to fight with, would still hurt. The metal weapons actually pierce flesh, perhaps requiring some serious explaining later on. Note that simply covering the weapon in the blood of a supernatural creature will allow normal damage to be inflicted. Also, True Weapons likewise are immune to this power.
The tentflap parted for a moment. Bassam glanced up, half in fear at being caught, half in frustration. "WHO!"
"I, Bassam. It is I."
The figure in the doorway looked familiar, and yet...
"You have done something few have done, Bassam. You have ascended to the Third Generation. Your Hunger has served you well, given you the drive to overcome any obstacle. Now it will curse you." The figure turned to go.
"No. Wait! What did you mean..." He stood and wiped the vitae from his mouth with a dirty sleeve. "What do you mean, 'Cursed?'"
The figure smiled. "Find shelter, Bassam. You will require it. I do not curse you. I warn you. Few have ascended to your level, and none so quickly...so far. However, such hubris carries a heavy price. That which gave you the edge, the drive to go on, will ultimately drag you down. I am sorry, Bassam, but it was your choice."
"So it doesn't end here, in this tent?"
"No. There has to be 13. You cannot die until someone takes to pulsing blood from your veins. It will never end.
"You've worked so hard, all these years. In my own way, I was cheering you along. Now that it's over, I hope it was worth the trouble." He left.
Bassam remained kneeling in the tent, waiting for the sun's scorching rays to mar his flesh, to end his life as he planned. They ripped his flesh into fiery agony, they desiccated the corpse of Juran. But no matter how much he suffered, he did not die.
And the cycle began anew...
Now, the second part:
"...So that's it?"
"Yes. As far as we know, that's it."
Curan glanced down at the elegant weapon he held delicately in his hands. "They're all gone?"
"I suppose. There have always been rumors, but, as you know, the Assamites are good."
"And you wouldn't suppose this hunk of iron would have any power?"
"No. None outside its original owner. And forger."
"Sheesh. I went to a lot of trouble to get this, too. And now I spend my pennies, haul my pale butt all the way to Rekjavik, and all for nothing."
"Oh, not for nothing. It's still a serviceable weapon."
"But it's not a GhulBlade. It's not a corferri. It's not anything."
"Great. 'hey, mista. You wanna buy some history? Twenty bucks.'"
"Childe, there are perhaps forty souls around today who know the tale I told you. I saw the blade was worthless to you the moment you walked in here. Your message was sincere, so I thought I could give you something for your troubles. Information."
"Information? About a loser clan who couldn't beat off a single lick? I don't care WHO he was! If they were such great fighters, then what the HELL are they doing DEAD? Din't they TALK to one another? Didn't they think, 'oh, gee, that Hassam has fought Tom, Dick, and Stupid, and all three are DEAD now. Hm...' I'm failing to see the bright side to all this..."
"You struck the floor with the sword. It is slate. Sparks flew."
"Nah. Not sparks. I hit that floor, and BAM! Something hit it before I even TOUCHED it!"
"Yes. Not sparks, boy. You must go. You must take this sword wherever it will lead you. It's not safe here. Not after that."
"Trust me. You came all this way, and I dispensed free advice, out of pity. Now I beg you. Leave."
"One more question, one small thing I just don't understand. How'd they do it?"
"How did they do...what?"
"Fight. Y'know...I can imagine that lots and lots of soldiers fought for them, like in the story, but weren't those during the day? How did they control the troops?"
"You've uncovered a great mystery. Now it's your duty to cover it back up. Before it devours you...and us. Go now."
"Okay...right...whatever. See ya, you old bastard."
File No. 994532 - Level 7 Survellience Sweep Record. Translate into Aramaic, and File Level 4, Eyes Only, Istanbul, Petra, Aerie.
As two astute posters have pointed out, the concept of vampiric generals seems unlikely in the least. The Kine would immediately object to fighting at night, for obvious reasons. So somehow, these mighty warlords had to find a way to fight during the DAY.
Of course, this is the result of all the scholarship that is known about this enigmatic clan. Many, particularly Assamites, deny their existence, simply because they don't make sense. Nice metaphor for a Clan, but rather impractical, in the weight of historical evidence. The few experts who still try to piece it all together have one of two theories. The first is that the Makhomenoi, when they desired to fight, could encourage the Kine they ruled and controlled to fight at night, when the moon was full and the sky was cloudless. Such gods that walked amongst men would have undoubtably been able to sway the masses in this regard. If you were willing to die for a pale stranger that improved your fighting ability, then you most certainly were willing to do so under a full moon. It's not like it was every night.
The second theory is perhaps the most radical of all; that the Makhomenoi were indeed immune to the debilitating effects of the sun, but paid a terrible price in that regard. Until Level 5 was reached, normal blows could kill them.
However, the huge hole in our knowledge of the clan, especially how one becomes an Arm, Leg, or Chest, leaves us with questions which may never be answered sufficiently.
This is all your players can know, up into this point. This is all the scholarship tells them, no matter how hard they search. Anyone who pretends to have knowledge beyond this point would probably have been hunted down by Hassam a long time ago. Unless you're running a Chronicle while these guys were running around, then they will only know the vague rumors (above) which can make a normally sedate Assamite foam at the mouth.
This Clan is intended to be the ultimate teaser. Rumors of a Lost Clan, with direct links to Clan Assamite, should have any Illuminatist running out the door to find more info, just to have SOMETHING to lord over the oh-so-smug Assamites.
What exists beyond is lessons that Hassam intentionally forgot, since their very existence threatens vampires, and to a large degree, humanity in general. In every sense, only one individual in the World of Darkness knows what lies beyond this point. Well, five. But they're not talking...
From here, the puzzle of Clan Makhomenoi becomes incredibly vague. Anecdote has allowed us to nail down the first five steps, fairly readily. At this point, however, all evidence vanishes. In truth, the lowliest Makhomenoi grunt was 8th Generation. This means that the higher levels of Ptolemos were MUCH more accessible than similar levels today.
Part of the radical split has to do with what happens when one masters "the basics." (Level 5). Until a Makhomenos masters Ptolemos 5, he is considered an apprentice, completely subservient to his liege. There is no question of inherent loyalty. The moment the apprentice steps out of line, he is destroyed, in accordance with the Ancient traditions. Thus, a kind of ettiquette was instilled in all Makhomenoi that does not seem to exist in this day and age. Vampires of this era meeting a Makhomenos would more than likely mock them as being too naive for their own good.
When a Makhomenos reached Ptolemos 5, he is then inducted into the Order of his Sire. From this point, the three streams of Makhomenoi diverge. Each path has a different way of expressing the essential art of war, and how it applied to them.
The Arm were those intensely interested in the Melee, combat won on a mano e mano level. All notions of mass tactics were shunted in favor of a handful of good hard steel. However, to slay would be too quick, too pointless. A warrior squelched in his prime, because of a careless mistake, would never make a worthwhile opponent. But one clubbed into unconsciousness would learn form his error, and live to fight --better-- another day. While all paths fought in combat, the Arm would prefer this style above all.
The Leg were those fascinated with the politics of warfare; the subconscious interactions of troops, as they moved. This would eventually become psychological and guerilla warfare, as the dark tone of the Assamites set in. As it was, they labored to capture the single nuances they needed to gain a decisive edge, to let it all come down to fate.
The Chest were the Master Tacticians. The grease and smoke of warfare was all irrelevant. Wars and battles were about outflanking and supply lines. Manipulate one, and capute another, and surrender could be obtained without a single fatality. War was about strategy on the large scale, taking in terrain, weather, and treating troops as just so many pieces to be manipulated on a map.
Once a Makhomenos was set on a path, it was almost impossible to deviate. The selection by a Sire boded well or ill on the initial state of the Neonate. If the Neonate proved to be much more of a Arm than his Leg Sire, he would be traded, sold, or given to a more appropriate master. Thus, many truly brilliant Makhomenoi would have been passed through masters of all paths, before finally choosing the one he belonged in.
 Arm Hand of Valor: With this Discipline, the Makhomenoi's spirit leaves his body, and enters his True Weapon, infusing it with his essence. The weapon is then given to a preselected warrior, who will wield it in combat. While the weapon is wielded, the Makhomenoi can channel his will through the blade, guiding the steps of his wielder. When the wielder would do something contrary to the desires of the sword, a Will vs. Will test is made, to determine outcome. However, such an act drains the Makhomenos of a point of WP, without any loss on the part of the wielder.
The Makhomenos' senses are those of the wielder in all ways, so an excellent candidate is chosen beforehand.
Each hour spent away from the body drains it of a Health Level, eventually sending it into Torpor. To prevent this, the weapon must be returned to the hands of the Makhomenos. The Makhomenos can freely abjure himself from the weapon, at a cost of two HLs. All damage is healed in the normal manner.
 Leg: Blood Walk: A very macabre Discipline, this level requires the Makhomenos to smear fresh blood (2 BPs worth) all over his body. Once this is done, a Sta+Survival roll is made at Diff 8. If this succeeds, the Makhomenos is transformed into a mortal. This, however, is all the minuses, and few of the plusses. If killed in this form, the Makhomenos is dead forever. The Makhomenos cannot take in blood for healing, nor can he use blood to pump stats or fuel any discipline other than celerity. Still, his heart beats, he breathes, and except for being covered in sticky blood, appears to be utterly normal.
Blood must be replenished at a rate of 1 BP/hour. This blood must be bottled in some way, and time must be taken to spread it over the body. Note that the Makhomenos cannot voluntarily end the time. They must ride out the hour as a human, with all the resulting problems.
Oddly, the blood, other than being ghastly-looking, has no effect. Animals will not shy away from the character, as they would if they smelled such a foul stench, or if they sensed a vampire.
 Chest: Being There: From the depths of sleep, a Makhomenos who has this level can react on a very simplistic level. By infusing a "chit" with a point of blood, the Makhomenos has spatial awareness of Line of Sight, as if he was standing where it was placed. In addition, the Makhomenoi can control movement of the chit, with a power similar to movement of the Mind 1. The chit, subsequently, cannot be bigger than a fist. The effect lasts for Stamina+Occult (diff 6) hours.
A map of the battlefield was usually provided. The chit was placed on a table, and a fairly accurate map was laid out before it, with pieces resembling troops. Messengers would be sent constantly to update the battle as it progressed. The Makhomenos would use his chit to move the appropriate pieces around, usually with a fair degree of dexterity.
Instead of this option, a Makhomenos can choose to infuse multiple chits with his blood (1 BP required), and know what's going on around that chit (same line of sight). Each hour requires the expenditure of one point of blood to maintain the effect. To do this this, the Makhomenos now must be awake (with all penalties) and out of the sun, and can receive no healing while in this weakened state. The battle can be directed in this fashion.
 Arm: Hand of Strength: An enhanced form of Hand of Valor, the Hand of Strength allows more control of the wielder of the sword, in exchange for more power granted to the wielder. In short, the wielder has full access to the Makhomenos' Blood pool, but in exchange, the wielder is considered under a blood bond (can perform no action not in the best interest of the Makhomenos).
 Leg: Blood Run: To perform this discipline, the Makhomenos needs to immerse himself in at least 10 BPs for at least an hour. This can be bathed in, or soaked into cloths, and then laid on the Makhomenos. When it is finished, the Makhomenos takes on a terrible scarlet hue that is the equivalence of Awe against any who view the Makhomenos with hostile intentions.
The Blood Run is a wicked give and take gamut that the Makhomenos endures for the chance to walk in the sunlight. During this time, he can use blood to increase stats, but not to heal, and cannot take in more. He can use all disciplines as normal, but each, regardless of level, takes a point of blood per application. Finally, normal weapons can cause the True Death. As blood is used, the Makhomenos becomes more and more pale, and the pain of being in the sun increases steadily (create "phantom" health bar linked to blood pool; at 5 BPs, the Makhomenos is in enough pain to cause - 1 to all die rolls, etc. At 1 BP, he is incapacitated with the pain.
Duration is Str+Survival (Diff 7) in hours. The Makhomenos can abjure the form at the cost of 5 BPs. The moment this happens, the vampiric weaknesses kick in again.
 Chest: Talisman: To use this ability, the Makhomenos must first craft an item out of virtually any material, and steep it with 3 points of his blood. Then he projects his essence into the item, gaining phenomenal amount of control over the item. The whole process takes an hour to complete.
The item must be small enough to lift with MotM 1, but can be in practically any shape, which is really the point of this power. The object, usually a figurine, becomes completely animated in every way the figurine could be animated. Thus, a statuette of a bird could actually fly, a statuette of a cat would slink and pounce (though at a greatly reduced distance, considering its size), and a statuette of a man with a spear could poke with it, throw it, or do anything else, although the damage is never more than a Health Level (but can be poisoned).
The item can be destroyed by normal means, inherent to the material it was composed. Destruction of the item causes the Makhomenos to take 3 HLs damage, one of which is aggravated. The Figurine is active for an amount of time equal to Int+Artistic Expression (diff 6) hours.
 Arm: Hand of Glory: The usurpation of the will of the wielder is almost complete at this point. Through the power of the True weapon, the Makhomenos will control the steps, actions, and thoughts of the wielder. In almost every way, the sword confers its powers upon the wielder, granting access to blood (but not healing), disciplines, and intelligence. However, for every HL the wielder takes, the Makhomenos must spend a willpower to maintain the connection. In addition, if the host is killed, then the Makhomenos takes an aggravated level of damage.
Another wielder then can be selected, and to accomplish this, the Makhomenos, through the focus of the True Weapon, can lure a fighter to the weapon with a power similar to Dominate 1 (the fighter must notice the weapons, which often is not hard, considering its quality). Once flesh touches metal, the contest for control begins, with Will+3 of the Makhomenos vs. Will of the target. Note that, as before, each struggle saps 1 WP from the Makhomenos. The Makhomenos can urge his wielder to drop the weapon at any time, and an effect similar to Dominate 3 kicks in, compelling the fighter to wander off.
However, there is a terrible danger to this. Every day that passes, the Makhomenos' material form consumes 5 BPs to maintain the magic. If the True Weapon is not returned to the hands of the Makhomenos by the time the vampire runs out of blood, the Makhomenos' body will deteriorate into dust, and the vampire will be trapped in his True Weapon forever, unable to control his wielder, and granting only those disciplines that do not require blood. If the wielder is a vampire, the trapped Makhomenos can use her pool to fuel the power, but only with the consent of the wielder.
The True Weapon will never rust, lose its edge, or fail from lack of care. They are weapons of fine quality, some of which still have Makhomenos spirits, waiting to get a proper wielder.
 Leg: Blood Sprint: Similar in every way to Blood Run, this incredibly powerful application allows the Makhomenos to walk in full daylight without any loss of power. The bathing ritual still must be accomplished. The primary difference lies in the fact that the Makhomenos still cannot take in Blood during the day, and will die the True Death if all blood is destroyed (rather than falling into Torpor). Further, every hour awake after the bath costs the Makhomenos 5 BPs. Although the Makhomenos can heal, he will still die the true death if taken below incapacitated, even by normal weapons.
 Chest: Animation: With this potent power, the Machomenos can transfer his consciousness to non-living things in chains (i.e., one must touch the other, which must touch the next, etc.) The Makhomenos prepares a figurine as above, but is not tethered to this form. He can animate any object that can be lifted by MothM 2, and merely has to touch it with his figurine. Further, he can always jump back to the figurine, at the cost of a blood point.
The figurine now enjoys the protection of Fortitude, although its destruction is still traumatic (1 agg.) Also, all "mental" disciplines (those that work in Torpor) work in whatever object he is possessing. A limited form of Telepathy allows him to send simple picture images to targets. This can be useful to take over a weapon. For instance, a Makhomenos sneaks into the enemy camp, as a panther figurine, to overhear the details of the plan. He realizes that he must stop the general, and to do so, needs to take over a guard's spear. He touches the guard's sandal, and commands it to start itching the guard, while mentally sending a message to the guard to scratch the sandal with the spear. When spear touches sandal, the transfer is made.
Note that using items as weapons follows the same rules as if you were to use MotM. First, one can only hope to control objects that can be lifted with MotM 2. Next, if the item is being held, or otherwise restrained, and the target knows that the weapon can be "possessed," there is a resisted test, pitting the Makhomenos' WP vs. the target's Str+3. Thus, most of the time, the Makhomenos prefer a secret attack.
The duration of the Discipline is the Makhomenos' Sta+Artistic Expression (diff 6) in hours. The Makhomenos may opt for longer, at a rate of 1 WP/hour.
 Enhance: Perhaps the reason why Hassam destroyed Clan Makhomenoi, no good could come of this potent Discipline which the Clan apparently used far too often. With it, the Clan could modify a potential Makhomenos before he is embraced, making up for natural discrepancies, or truly improving him in every way. Near the end of their reign, the Clan was endeavoring to create the ultimate warriors, and subsequently passing them around the Arms, Legs, and Chests.
Each of the Makhomenoi subgroups have a set of abilities and attributes that they prize above all others. Those mortals being Enhanced drink the potent blood of Vampire warriors, and are forever changed with the power. The dark secrets and potentials of the vampire are realized with only a sip, and the outcome is usually always dramatic.
The Makhomenos who is performing the Enhancement rolls Man+Empathy (diff 6). Each success means 1 extra point which can be added to any subset which the vampire controls. The change is permanent, and carries over into vampiric existence.
The sets are:
Thus, a Chest, desiring to enhance a mortal, gives him a point of potent vitae, specially prepared (it takes a week to prepare a dose). The Makhomenos rolls Man+Empathy, and gets 4 successes. The mortal may add permanent levels to Sta, Man, Int, and Kno (enhancing or adding the Knowledges the Chest knows). However (thankfully), once one subgroup performed their ritual, they cannot use it again on the mortal. He still can be passed off to the other groups.
Once Enhancement was a gift only for heroes, and warriors of distinction. Near the ned, it was bandied around too freely for the likings of many, avaliable not to reward, but to make hum-drum existence more exciting. The legacy still lives on, however, in the form of unopened vials, still waiting to be drunk.
 Usurpation: The title Warlord was more than just lip-service. Within its range of powers lay the most devastating of all, the power Hassam did everything to squelch. The power of Usurpation is the ability to oversee a conflict, and suddenly throw the odds out the window. Thus, if the Warlord were to witness a battle between overwhelming forces and a group about to be massacred, with but a wave of his hand, the battle would be turned, though some horrid tragedy or coincidence. The power of Usurpation allows him to tip the scales any way he pleases, from a devastating upset, to an even match, to a slight advantage. This power affects any conflict on any level, from a single fight to a war. The only flaw in this power is that a Warlord cannot Usurp a conflict which he himself is personally involved in. Thus, the Warlord, to keep this ultimate veto power in reserve, must remain neutral most of his career, a prospect which rankles most Makhomenoi more than anything else. Hassam wisely drew the Warlord into the fray, preventing him from using this power to prevent his own death, the ultimate of ironies.
The gender issue: Lost to the ages is whether or not the Makhomenoi were all men. Legends of the Amazons hint that, no, not all were, but no single evidence of a female Makhomenos survive. It could very well be that Hassam may have overlooked these rare exceptions.
The Makhomenoi today: As hinted, a few Makhomenoi survive, mostly in their True Weapons, trapped there by Hassam long ago. These weapons collect dust on shelves, and confound scientists in their inability to rust or even lose their edge. Most spirits are asleep, waiting to be found by a Kindred with the passion for war in her heart.
Finally, there is but one place where the Makhomenoi could persist: the Americas. Drawn to the powerful warrior culture of the Native Americans, the Makhomenoi would have travelled any distance to be with those who treasured honorable warfare above all. To date, five Makhomenoi still live, asleep and unaware that the European has conquered the land through deception and treachery. One in particular, a powerful Chest who animated a great buffalo carcass when he fought, was almost awakened in the Spirit Dance. He now stirs in his sleep, and when fully awakened, will try to Enhance as many Native Americans to lead into battle.